CBI Director Alok Verma challenges ouster in SC

CBI Director Alok Verma challenges ouster in SC

Taking up Central Bureau of Investigation chief Alok Verma's case against the government for divesting him of his powers and sending him on forced leave, the Supreme Court today said a vigilance inquiry against him would be time-bound and monitored by an ex-judge.

The apex court said the CVC enquiry on allegations and counter-allegations should be completed in 10 days under the supervision of this court. Upon this direction, the CVC pleaded that 10 days for CBI inquiry is not enough as it has to look into several documents. Rao was further directed to submit all the decisions, taken by him ever since his appointment to it in a sealed cover.

Patnaik, as chief justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court, was also a member of "In-House committee" of the apex court that probed allegations against Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court.

The Supreme Court's order has hit the middle ground so well that the two bitterly inimical parties have derived a degree of confidence from it. Congress president Rahul Gandhi led an opposition march in front of the CBI headquarters Friday morning, invoking the Rafale deal as the main factor behind the mess in the CBI.

The feud between Verma and his deputy, CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, escalated this week leading to registration of an FIR against Asthana and others including Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar, who is in the CBI custody in an alleged bribery case. It said for the time being, no monitoring by anyone else should be allowed. The court also issued notices to the Centre on both petitions. Asthana is said to have withstood enormous political pressures during the fodder scam probe.

During the brief hearing Friday, senior advocate F S Nariman advanced arguments on behalf of the CBI chief. Asthana, incidentally, has been reported by the media as close to PM Modi, a Gujarat cadre officer who was brought into the CBI and tipped to succeed Alok Verma after his retirement end year. Verma would now move the Supreme Court against this order of the government.

"The prime minister acted against the CBI director as a result of panic and as a result of fear because he has helped Mr Ambani", Gandhi said as he left the police station. He also cited Vineet Narain judgment to support Verma's plea.

The members of the party raised slogans demanding reinstatement of Alok Verma as CBI Director and also sought an apology from PM Modi for tarnishing the image of the probe agency.

A report by news agency ANI said that the Delhi Police and the IB were engaged in intense conversations since Thursday to resolve the crisis.

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